Schools obligations to students biometric data
It's that time of year again, when parents with children going up to high schools are encountering biometric systems in their children's new schools and are unsure of their rights to consent and what responsibilities the school has to ensure school services are not withheld from students who do not participate in their biometric system. Hopefully this will clarify schools, parents and children's position. A PDF version can be found here.
A school’s responsibility
A school cannot take and process a student’s, under 18 years old, biometric data without the consent of the parent/s or the student. Consent must be given in writing from the parent/s. Consent can be withdrawn at any time.
· If one parent consents and the other does not, the non-consent takes precedence.
· If the parent/s consent and the student does not, the students non-consent takes precedence.
· If the parent/s do not consent and the student does consent, the parents non-consent takes precedence.
If a consent is not given the school “must ensure that reasonable alternative means are available by which the child may do, or be subject to, anything which the child would have been able to do, or be subject to, had the child’s biometric information been processed.” as detailed in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012,Chapter 2 Section 26 (7).
Parent/s must be informed by the school that they are using a biometric system and the school must gain written consent from the parent/s to take and process their child’s biometric data. You may withdraw your consent at any time.
Schools do not always make it clear when asking for consent that an alternative to the biometric system is available and that non-consent ultimately lies with the student.
Regardless of consent given by your parent/s you alone determine whether a school takes and processes your biometric data. If you choose not to use a biometric system the school must provide an alternative and must not withhold any services from you that is available through their biometric system. You may withdraw your consent at any time.